2010 Summer Arts Guide

BY PATRICIA CORRIGAN

Summer time, when the livin’ is easy, is no time to let the humidity get you down – not when cool splashes of culture all over town are just waiting to refresh your mind. Let this guide lead you to plenty of rich experiences through the summer months.

The short, sweet 35th season (May 22-June 27) for OPERA THEATRE ST. LOUIS has already begun at the Loretto-Hilton Center in Webster Groves. This year’s line-up brings Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” “A Little Night Music” and “The Golden Ticket” (based on Roald Dahl’s classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) to the stage. A little note is in order about Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” — the production is directed and designed by Isaac Mizrahi and stars Amy Irving. Matinee and evening performances are available for all the shows. Tickets cost $25-$117. For exact dates of performances (shows rotate nightly), call 314-961-0644 or see www.opera-stl.org.

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To be or not to be in Forest Park for “Hamlet” – that is the question. If you decide to attend the SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL ST. LOUIS‘ 10th anniversary production, head for Shakespeare Glen (near the Art Museum) in time for the Green Show entertainment, which begins at 6:30 p.m. The play, directed by Bruce Longworth, begins at 8 p.m. every night (except Tuesdays and June 5) starting tonight through June 20. Admission is free, though donations are welcome. Call 314-531-9800 or see www.shakespearefestivalstlouis.org.

DANCE ST. LOUIS‘ Spring to Dance is an amazing deal for dance fans. Thirty companies over the course of three nights for $10 each night. The festival runs from May 27-29 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus. Among some of the companies scheduled to perform: the Joffrey Ballet, the Houston Ballet, Battleworks Dance Company from New York, Margie Gillis from Montreal and Ensemble Espanol from Chicago. Go to www.dancestl.org for more info.

The Mississippi River is one of the stars in “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” on stage May 28-June 27 at STAGES ST. LOUIS. Matinee and evening performances are at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in the Kirkwood Civic Center at 111 S. Geyer Road. Tickets range from $15 to $49. Call 314-821-2407 or see www.stagesstlouis.com.

For the final production of the 2009-2010 season, the NEW JEWISH THEATRE brings Neil Simon’s hilarious “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” to the Wool Studio Theatre at the Jewish Community Center at 2 Millstone Campus Drive. The show runs June 2 – 20, with matinee and evening performances. Tickets cost $24-$34. Call 314-442-3283 or see www.newjewishtheatre.org.

CIRCUS FLORA‘s Big Top goes up once again in Grand Center next to Powell Hall for “Ingenioso,” an all-new show inspired by Don Quixote’s impossible dream. This one-ring, European-style circus offers matinee and evening performances in an air-conditioned tent June 3-27, with tickets ranging from $14-$39. Call 314-289-4040 or see www.circusflora.org.

Tony Award winning songstress Liza Minelli brings her powerhouse voice and personality to POWELL SYMPHONY HALL when she performs there at 8 p.m. June 5. Expect to hear familiar show tunes and American standards that will have you leaving wanting more. For tickets and other information, call 314-534-1700 or go to www.slso.org.

Celebrate ART/FOOD from 1 to 4 p.m. on June 5 at a special event co-sponsored by the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis (3750 Washington Blvd.) and The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts (3716 Washington Blvd.). Admission is free. Call 314-535-4660 or see www.contemporarystl.org.

THAT UPPITY THEATRE COMPANY and ST. LOUIS ACTORS’ STUDIO combine forces to present the world premiere of Joan Lipkin’s “The State of Marriage,” a performance piece that considers “the institution’s complicated emotional, religious, and social dimensions and history.” Expect music, dance, humor and pointed social commentary. Opens at 8 p.m. June 10 and runs through June 20 for theater-goers 18 and older at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar in University City. Tickets cost $18-$25. Call 314-458-2978 or see www.stlas.org.

Ready to try defying gravity – or at least proving the experience for a preteen girl dear and near to you? “Wicked,” the untold story of the witches from “The Wizard of Oz,” returns to the FOX THEATRE June 16 through July 11. Tickets range from $33 to $80 for matinee and evening performances at 527 North Grand Blvd.. Call 314-534-1111 or see www.fabulousfox.com.

Meet me at THE MUNY, which opens June 21 with Disney’s “Beauty and The Beast.” The show starts at 8:15 p.m. Tickets cost $9-$66, plus free seats are available. Call 314-361-1900 or see www.muny.org.

Ola! Head for the Hispanic Festival’s FIESTA IN FLORISSANT June 26-27 in Knights of Columbus Park near the corner of Lindbergh and Washington St. Non-stop entertainment, including bands and dancers, foods from Latin and South America, folk arts and fun. Profits fund scholarships for college-bound students and underprivileged children. Free on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 837-6100.

Now sinking on a stage near you — for the first time ever, “Titanic: The Musical” plays at THE MUNY July 5-11. You know the ending, but you may not know the songs by Maury Yeston and book by Peter Stone. The show won five Tony awards in 1997, including Best Musical. Next up, “Damn Yankees,” July 12-18. Shows start at 8:15 p.m. Tickets cost $9-$66, plus free seats are available. Call 314-361-1900 or see www.muny.org.

For opera buffs who didn’t get their fill at Opera Theatre, UNION AVENUE OPERA, at 733 Union Blvd. in midtown St. Louis, has three offerings this summer: “Pirates of Penzance,” by Gilbert & Sullivan, on weekends from July 9-18; Donizietti’s “La fille du regiment”(Daughter of the Regiment), July 30-Aug. 8 and “Pikovaya Dama” (Queen of Spades) by Tchaikovsky Aug. 20-28. Call 314.361.2881 or go to www.unionavenueopera.org for full details.

Gather up the wee ones for “Storytime Live!” at the FOX THEATRE July 16 and 17, featuring pre-school favorites “Dora the Explorer”, “The Backyardigans”, “The Wonder Pets!” and “Ni Hao, Kai-Lan”. The show comes from Nickelodeon and Broadway Across America. Moose A. Moose and Zee serve as hosts. Shows are at 7 p.m. on Friday and at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday. Prices range from $15.50-$43.50. Call MetroTix at 314-534-1111 or see www.metrotix.com.

Kate and Petruchio will trade insults in ST. LOUIS SHAKESPEARE’S “Taming of the Shrew,” which runs July 16-25 at the Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square. Matinee and evening performances. Tickets cost $15-$25. No one under 8 admitted. Call 314-361-5664 or see www.stlshakespeare.org.

“Promises, Promises” runs July 16 – Aug. 15 at STAGES ST. LOUIS. Matinee and evening performances are at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in the Kirkwood Civic Center at 111 S. Geyer Road. Tickets range from $15 to $49. Call 314-821-2407 or see www.stagesstlouis.com.

Feline fanciers may flock to “Cats” at THE MUNY July 19-25. Next up, “The Sound of Music,” playing July 26-Aug. 1. Opening Aug. 2 and running through Aug. 8 is the premiere performance at the outdoor theater of “Footloose,” adapted for the stage from the 1984 hit movie that starred Kevin Bacon. All shows start at 8:15 p.m. Tickets cost $9-$66, plus free seats are available. Call 314-361-1900 or see www.muny.org.

The 24th season at STAGES ST. LOUIS continues with Disney’s “The Aristocats,” which runs Aug. 4-15. Matinee and evening performances are at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in the Kirkwood Civic Center at 111 S. Geyer Road. Tickets range from $15 to $49. Call 314-821-2407 or see www.stagesstlouis.com.

ST. LOUIS SHAKESPEARE presents “Anton in Show Business” Aug. 6 -15 at the Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square. The comedy won the 2000 American Theatre Critics/Steinberg New Play Award. Matinee and evening performances. Tickets cost $15-$25. No one under 12 admitted. Call 314-361-5664 or see www.stlshakespeare.org.

“Showboat” closes the season at THE MUNY, playing Aug.9 -15. All shows start at 8:15 p.m. Tickets cost $9-$66, plus free seats are available. Call 314-361-1900 or see www.muny.org.

Hometown favorite Joneal Joplin is The Man in INSIGHT THEATRE‘s production of “Man of La Mancha” Aug 11-15 and Aug 18-22 at the Heagney Theatre at Nerinx Hall, 530 East Lockwood Avenue in Webster Groves. Tickets are $25. Call 314-239-9040 or see www.insighttheatrecompany.com

MUSTARD SEED THEATRE, housed at Fontbonne University, presents “Crumbs from the Table of Joy,” Aug. 27 – Sept. 12. An African-American man, grieving over his wife’s death, finds new meaning in religion when he and his family move from Florida to Brooklyn. Go to www.mustardseetheatre.com for more info.

Indulge in some Israeli foods and enjoy a “staycation” with international overtones at the FESTIVAL OF NATIONS from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 28 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 29 in Tower Grove Park at 4256 Magnolia Ave. In addition to food, the festival features music, dance, storytelling, sports, vendor booths and craft demonstrations – all from South American, Middle Eastern, European and Asian countries. Admission is free. See www.iistl.org.

Sneaking in just before Labor Day is “State Fair” at STAGES ST. LOUIS, on stage Sept. 3- Oct. 3. Matinee and evening performances are at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in the Kirkwood Civic Center at 111 S. Geyer Road. Tickets range from $15 to $49. Call 314-821-2407 or see www.stagesstlouis.com.

All summer long, of course, you may meander through the glorious grounds of the MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN, soaking up the culture of flora. Now through Oct. 3, the Garden features “DinoQuest: A Tropical Trek through Time” with models of the ancient critters lurking among the plants in the Climatron®. The Garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at 4344 Shaw Blvd. A special exhibit admission applies in addition to the general admission. See www.mobot.org.

Faunae reign at the ST. LOUIS ZOO, now celebrating its 100th anniversary (a little early, but that’s OK). A special Zootennial exhibit curated by the Missouri History Museum in the 1917 Elephant House — the zoo’s oldest building, now known as Peabody Hall – tells all about it. Admission to the Zoo is free. See www.stlzoo.org.

So much to do, so little time – don’t let summer pass you by!